'Fractals' of Human Health
Health is a comlex dynamic pattern subjected to the influence of many interwoven factors, whose unpredictable interplay makes it to appear as a chaotic attractor in the 'phase space' of existence. In analogy with the structure of a chaotic attractor, the structure of health can be described as a fractal, that is, self-similar at different scale of appearance. The 'fractal' of the individual health is nested in the 'fractal' of the family health, which is nested in the community health, which is nested in the health of the society, which is nested in the environmental health, which is nested in the health of the planet. "Nested" implies openness for mutual interaction - each fractal of health is strongly influenced by at least two other fractals - the one nested below the considered fractal, and the one which envelopes it.
For example, the health of the local community depends on the health of the families included in the community, and at the same time it reflects the health of the whole society; the health of the environment reflects both the health of 'Gaya' (a name given by J. Lavelock to our living planet) and the health of our society actively intervening with the environment.
Even the health of an individual has a
fractal structure reflecting the nested dynamic structure of the four
vital levels of human integrity: body (physical health), mind (mental
health), soul (psychological health) and spirit (spiritual dimension of
In his famous Satires (120 AD) attacking the corruption of social life in Rome, the Roman poet Juvenal expressed an aspect of 'fractality' of human health through his epigrammatic saying: "Mens sana in corpore sano" (a sound mind in sound body). Although, in relation to our stressful way of living today, "Corpore sano in mens sana" (a sound body in sound mind) makes even greater sense.
Fractality of health denies isolated treatments of health problems. As one cannot succeed in curing a disease of an individual (it doesn't matter what kind of 'miraculous' medical tools are put into operation) by dealing only with the physical symptoms when neglecting emotional, mental and spiritual factors influencing individual's health, so one cannot cure an environmental problem (it doesn't matter what kind of 'miraculous engineering technologies' are put into operation) when neglecting community factors (economical, political, cultural, etc.) that influence environmental health.